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Timeshare Resale Scam Uses SD Address

August 24, 2012, 10:03 PM by Angela Kennecke

Timeshare Resale Scam Uses SD Address

A lot of people who buy timeshares end up regretting it.

The recession also brought an onslaught of people wanting to sell their timeshares. And that's what the latest scam going around the country was banking on.

These con-artists used South Dakota's good reputation to get away with it.

The sales pitch is always strong, but after a while, those annual fees can cause timeshares to lose their luster.  That was the case for a California woman who thought she had a chance to sell her three timeshares in Mexico.

"I said where did you get my name and how to do you know about me being willing to sell and all that?  She said they have a list. They go through all the time share owners to see who hasn't been using their time share and then they call them to see if they're interested in selling," Eleanor Cabada said.

And then they told her something to seal the deal: the escrow office that was going to sell her timeshares was located in South Dakota.

"I said, well if it's in South Dakota, it's got be good.  The people in South Dakota are very solid people, they're not messing around," Cabada said.

"She had no reason not to believe them. They sent her all kinds of official information," Jessie Schmidt of the Better Business Bureau said.

But then just before the supposed closing date, came a frantic phone call in which the company asked Cabada to put up some money.

"They went up and down and round and round about how this was a last minute thing, they had no idea this was going to occur, but they pulled this on them and the Mexican government was involved and they couldn't do anything until the money was paid by the owners," Cabada said.

Cabada wired the $6,700 fee and almost immediately regretted it. 

"So I fell for it and then after that we were never able to get a hold of them," Cabada said.

Turns out the address for that "South Dakota" company is an empty office in a Rapid City strip mall.

"They were only in business from May of this year until last week when they were shut down, a short period of time.  But in that period of time, there were over 300 complaints on this company," Schmidt said.

The Better Business Bureau says it's an important reminder that if someone approaches you about any kind of transaction and then wants money up front, beware. 

"I can't make myself sick about it. I know it was stupid and I did something wrong. I hope most people would be more careful than I and investigate them before they send then any money," Cabada said.

Authorities have not tracked down the con artists in this scam. But they used two bogus addresses, one in South Dakota and another in New Mexico.

Click here to see the Better Business Bureau Scam warning.

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